The Lake Tahoe Environmental Research Center is embarking on its most detailed near-shore data collection effort ever and it's looking for help from the public.
Last week researchers dropped a device that looks like a bazooka in the water off Lake Tahoe’s shoreline near Homewood. The device projects light to measure algae. It can record temperature within 3/1000 of a degree, lake level within 1/64th of an inch and return the data every 30 seconds.
“Which is pretty amazing," says Research Director Geoff Schladow.
Schladow says most of the $50,000 to pay for the monitor came from private citizens. In the next few months, the data will be publicly available in real-time. Schladow is hoping that will prompt more donations to pay for 20 monitors, one for every three miles around the lake. Then, comparisons of water clarity can be made.
“Sort of like the tidy town competitions: ‘Who has got the cleanest bay?'" he says.
Schladow says its the first system of it’s kind in the world. Researchers hope the data will identify whats causing the spread of invasive species and algae. The findings will also be used for lakes in Italy and Chile.